When you think of OCD you probably think of the continuous washing of hands or of someone turning the light switch on and off 100 times. But is that it? Is that really OCD? Nope. It’s part of it, for some people, but like all mental problems, OCD comes in many shapes and sizes.
I have OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder. I was born with it. And I will always have it, because OCD never leaves you. And if you let it, it will eat you up. It will make you feel isolated, hopeless and like the most dreadful person in the world, which of course you are not.
OCD is a clamp on your mind, it twists your thoughts and memories and can play them on repeat until you’re literally about to explode, anxious, torturous, THAT is OCD.
It started when I was a child, I remember having to tell my mum EVERYTHING, that was the first compulsion, THE TRUTH. I’m a compulsive truth teller, which most people actually admire, until I tell them something a bit too honest and then suddenly friends vanish in a puff of smoke, never to be seen again. Why am I telling you all this?
Well, I think you need to know, because it’s my belief that there’s a of lot of us out there and a lot of people too scared to admit it.
Even today, where the gates of mental health are pretty open, there’s still such a cloud of uncertainly, too many questions unanswered. So as soon as you mention ‘MENTAL HEALTH’ you get thrown into a box marked ‘risky’ because the brain is a funny old thing, it’s unpredictable and most people don’t like unpredictable. And here lies the big problem….. Of course we don’t want to admit we function differently from other person, because god forbid we are actually different.
But I wonder… if we really got down to it, how many of us would have a mental health problem, at least at some point in our lives. I can’t talk for all mental health issues but I can give a little voice to OCD.
So here’s what you should know about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder:
You should know your child could have (it often starts at birth)
You should know it will never completely go away but it can be tamed
You should know that drugs (antidepressants etc) are not the answer
You should know it’s not just about ritualistic actions but also repetitive thoughts
You should know it’s really hard for people to admit they have OCD because explaining how they feel seems like the hardest thing in the world
You should know going to therapy doesn’t help most people
You should know OCD is irrational, you cannot rationalise it
You should know about CBT, a great technique to deal with OCD
You should know Mindfulness and learning to live in more spiritual way is really helpful for calming OCD
You should know OCD has a good side, people with OCD are often more dedicated, motivated and push themselves until he job is done
I believe I was given OCD for a reason. I believe I can control it and I believe I can harness it for the better. If I wasn’t OCD I’m quite sure I wouldn’t be so ambitious, so pushy, so driven and I’m certain I wouldn’t see the world as I do.
I now understand that OCD is a part of me and by rejecting it I just made things worst. The hardest lesson in life is learning not to hide from ourselves, we have to embrace our demons and we have to remember there is no light without dark.
P.S A person who just washes there hands lots probably doesn’t have OCD. We call these people ‘hygienic’. This is something we need to think about because throwing labels around like they’re the cool new adjective can be really damaging. Ditto with ‘depressed’ you bf didn’t text back and you’ve finished the Ben and Jerry’s boo hoo, that’s not depression.